Caffeine is a great way to get yourself up and going when you’re feeling a little low on energy. A lot of us wake up every morning and brew ourselves a nice warm cup of coffee before class or work, and some of us might pick up a couple of energy drinks to pull an all-nighter for an essay that’s due the next day. But what most of us don’t realize is that drinking too much caffeine is harmful to our health.
Caffeine is addictive, although some consumers may deny it. It is known to be the highest consumed psychoactive drug. And yes, it’s a drug. A psychoactive drug just like tobacco, alcohol, cannabis, ecstasy and cocaine. Researchers from Northwestern University found that more than 250 medical cases at the Illinois Poison Center were due to caffeine ingestion.
The average American drinks about 2.1 coffee drinks per day, and this number increases with age, according to an article on the Huffington Post. This is only coffee. There are many other soft drinks consumed by Americans that contain caffeine.
It is unhealthy to consume more than 400 milligrams of caffeine. According to a Mayo Clinic article, that’s about the amount that four cups of coffee, or two energy drinks, contains. If you like to add an espresso shot to your coffee, that’s 80 more milligrams of caffeine that you’re adding. If you’re drinking more than two cups of coffee, plus energy drinks, or a soft drink here and there, don’t you think you’re cutting it a little too close?
Also, if you’re someone who likes to hit the gym and take supplements like pre-workout, that’s another 100-200 milligrams of caffeine added to your daily intake.
Not only does drinking caffeine harm your health, but it picks your pocket. According to an article on ABC, people typically pay $14.40 a week on coffee, and this doesn’t even include the cost of drinking coffee at home. On average, people spend more than $1,000 a year on just coffee.
If you feel that you absolutely can’t go through the day without any caffeine, there are healthy alternatives that you can try. Fitday.com lists five substitutions for caffeine, such as chicory root (herbal extract), ginseng, vitamin B12, ice cold water in the morning and simply eating an apple in addition to some stretching. There are nowhere near as many chicory root side effects as there are caffeine side effects so it’s a good thing to consider. These alternatives all provide a similar wakefulness effect that caffeine does, and are healthier and cheaper.
Take a break from your everyday caffeine consumption and abide to something more accommodating to your health and bank account.